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tv   Andrea Mitchell Reports  MSNBC  December 25, 2019 9:00am-10:00am PST

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thank you for watching. ♪ she can lie to you, make love to you, kill you, all in the same week. and not even cry at the funeral. >> she was living that dream california lifestyle. you talk about "housewives of orange county." she could have been on the show. she wrapped him around her finger. just like she wrapped so many men around her finger. >> reporter: she had it all, waterfront home, fancy cars, millionaire boyfriend. quite the life. until -- >> the shots were in sets of two. he saw his attacker. >> reporter: her lover gunned down. who wanted him dead?
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>> she wouldn't have done it because there wasn't any financial gain for her in this. >> reporter: what about her secret friend, the former nfl linebacker? you lied to them. >> i did. >> reporter: the mystery was unsolved. then came a prosecutor who took on big waves and cold cases. could he find the key to this one. >> this isn't just a motive. it's a motive on steroids. >> "deadly trust." hello and welcome to "dateline extra." i'm craig melvin. detectives believed if they followed the money, they would find the motive. there were potential suspects but the evidence was circumstance u circumstantial. could the keys be at the front
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door of a home? here is keith morrison. >> reporter: there's a place, call it a pot of gold at the end of ambition, of the american dream. a place the few and lucky build their mansions by the sea. newport beach, orange county, california, where the most unexpected event would be murder. >> things like this rarely happen in newport beach, let alone in an area as secure as this area. >> reporter: let alone involving people like this, attractive, charismatic, living large. like nanette johnston packard mcneal. >> she had a beautiful home, drove an expensive car. and she was sort of living that dream california lifestyle. you talk about "housewives of orange county," she could have been on the show. >> reporter: yes, in fact, she told friends she turned down an offer to be on that show.
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about over the top excess in orange county. she ended up on a show called "american thunder" about motorcycles, showing off her own excess, including a bike she bought for 50 grand. >> what's your favorite part of the bike? >> i love the way it looks. >> reporter: and then there was eric naposki. e ex-football player, wannabe actor, who starred in "newport 40." but here's where the show ends and the reality begins. because of what happened in that house behind the gates a long time ago. it was december 15, 1994, 9:00 p.m. >> the shots were patterned in sets of two. two shots. two shots. a pause. and then two shots. >> reporter: detective tom voth is now retired. he
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arrived to find a millionaire entrepreneur dead on his own kitchen floor. his name was bill mclaughlin, 55 years old, deeply religions and a true believer in the american dream, who made his come true. kind of a self-made guy, right? >> absolutely, yes. >> reporter: bill, said his daughter jenny, was the first in his family to go to college, first to found a company, first to end up with millions. not someone you'd think would wind up murdered. but here he was. >> you could tell there was not a physical struggle. there weren't things that were knocked off counters or things like that. >> reporter: you could tell, said voth, bill mclaughlin saw it coming, saw his killer. >> one of his movements was to put his hand up and try to block a shot. he got shot through the underside of a finger. so he saw his attacker. >> reporter: now voth needed to figure out, who was that last person bill mclaughlin saw? >> you're trying to take everything in, and you're trying
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to remember as much as you can, write down what you feel is important, what's going to come up in the investigation. >> reporter: what was important? what wasn't? it was hard to know in those first few hours. as you can see, in this video the police shot the night of the murder, the house was as neat as a pin, except for a cup on a table, papers regarding a lawsuit, and six bullet casings on the kitchen floor. and one more thing, a post-it note from his girlfriend nannette, stuck to the side of a lamp. she'd be home late. her son had a soccer game. nanette johnston as she was known back then, before reality shows and a couple of more marriages, had been his girlfriend for years. they seemed happy, despite the almost 30-year age difference, said his daughter kim. >> they seemed to be good companions. >> she was like your age, wasn't she?
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>> she was my age, yes. >> reporter: nanette helped bill take care of his disabled son who had been hit by a drunk driver and helped with business ventures. >> he found that interesting about her, that he could have possibly a romantic relationship but also sort of a mentoring relationship and possibly a business partner. >> he had hopes for this. >> i think he did. >> reporter: they lived together in bill's house on the newport bay, as did her two little ones part of the time. and she brought some children. >> correct. >> did he like that? >> yes. he thought that was important. he thought that it showed she was compassionate. >> reporter: on the night bill was killed, nanette was with her children at her son's soccer game. the kids went to their dad's house afterwards and nanette headed to the mall to go christmas shopping. she arrived home to a crime scene and to detective voth. >> anybody involved has a possibility of being the murderer.
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>> reporter: so voth questioned nanette and bill's own grown kids, couldn't eliminate anybody yet. >> we looked at the girlfriend and also looked at the daughters because anyone who stands to gain money in this situation is a potential suspect. >> reporter: bill's ex-wife was way off in hawaii. they'd been divorced for years. still the detectives talked to her. then there was kevin, bill's disabled son, and the only other person in the house at the time of the murder. >> newport beach emergency. >> reporter: it was shortly after 9:00 p.m. when kevin heard the gunfire. he was upstairs, still debilitated by those car accident injuries. he labored to make his way to the kitchen where he found his father. [ inaudible ] >> i can't understand what you're saying. >> reporter: too disabled to explain he needed help. >> somebody's dying? >> reporter: someone was dead.
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>> kevin was a suspect that we needed to find out the validity of his statements, whether he had gunshot residue on his hands, whether he was even able to shoot a gun, given his physical disabilities. >> reporter: but a suspect? they checked his hands for gun powder residue. negative. >> you have to look at everybody, unfortunately. sometimes hurts feelings, but you have to get down to the facts, too. >> reporter: but facts can be tricky things. and in this case far more elusive than anyone might have imagined. some clues were elusive but some were right out in the front, like the two that dramatically narrowed down the circle of suspects. >> coming up. >> those are huge. you eliminate everyone down to except those who have access to those two keys. >> when "deadly trust" continues. hen "deadly trust" continues. [ laughing ]
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[ electrical buzzing ]
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[ electrical buzzing ] [ dramatic music ] ahhhh!!! -ahhhhh!!! elliott. you came back! a lot's changed since you were here. it's called the internet. holiday movies. [ remote bleeps ] ♪ i'm dreaming ♪ of a white christmas family. home. [ music swells ] woohoo! -yeah!
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welcome back. investigators believed this was not a random killing. detectives were about to dig deep into bill's business dealings and a former colleague who may have had nearly 10 million reasons to want bill dead. for the family, the uncertainty of it all weighed heavily. here again is keith morrison. >> reporter: in the days that followed bill mclaughlin's murder, his children wandered, overwhelmed, through the essential events that follow a sudden death. that funeral must have been -- i don't know. >> the funeral was horrible because we were in shock, and we had to hold up. i don't remember much, but i do remember nanette sitting in the front with each child on either
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end, and they were both bawling at the top of their lungs. and then i remember my brother speaking, too, at the funeral and telling everybody what an amazing man he was and what a great dad he was for him. >> reporter: bill's girlfriend nanette moved out of the house where bill was killed in to another house he owned on the beach. kim and her husband move back into the family home with her brother. they clung to each other for dear life. >> we cried on each other's shoulders and did a lot of counseling and therapy and grieving. >> reporter: what made it worse was they didn't know who did it. or why. any more than did the newport beach police. when a thing like this happens, i mean, it's really an execution-style killing. this was obviously someone who intended to kill your dad. you must immediately wonder who. >> right. well, you wonder if it's a completely random act, some
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stranger and it was a mistake or an accident, or you develop a list of people that might have a reason to have shot him. >> reporter: to police, it didn't look random. nothing was taken. the killer struck with precision accuracy and got clean away. but there was something that intrigued detective voth that night. it was a clue they found in bill mclaughlin's closet. >> we do a search of the house with the permission of kevin. we're told there are weapons in the closet upstairs. when you come across that many weapons, it becomes surprising. >> reporter: bill was an avid gun collector. he kept dozens in his newport beach house. not just antiques, revolvers, semi-automatic weapons, including seven modified m-16 assault rifles. dangerous stuff in the wrong hands. >> we didn't know if somebody maybe was upset with the sale of a gun or something. >> reporter: nanette was worried about that, too. >> nanette told us that bill was
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dealing with a lot of shady people, gun dealers. >> reporter: and that was one theory. but there was something else, too, or, rather, someone else. >> the only person that we knew was frustrated with him was his business partner who he was in the lawsuit with. >> reporter: all of them, bill's kids and nanette, told detective voth about that business partner, hal fischel. >> because he and mr. mclaughlin were in a heated multiyear lawsuit over the invention of the device. >> reporter: the device? bill had made his millions from a revolutionary medical invention, a machine that separates plasma from blood, still in use worldwide today. just the sort of thing bill wanted, to do something useful, helpful, and make lots of money, too. >> he enjoyed learning new things, discovering new things, especially if it helped people, benefitted people, if he could make money off of an idea. >> reporter: hal fischel had
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worked with bill on an early phase of the machine. it was after fischel left the company that the money came rolling in. fischel thought his contribution to the invention deserved more that he got so he sued bill mclaughlin, his former friend and partner. here's the thing. it was just two weeks before the murder that the courts decided for bill. any day he was to get the $9 million he and fischel had been fighting over for years. so was it a revenge killing? sounded at least plausible. except there was something the killer left behind, something fischel didn't have access to. no, it wasn't dna, not fingerprints. something more mundane than that. >> when we got here, the door on the right was open and there was a key stuck in the lock right here. in addition to that, there was a key on a mat laying right next to the door here. >> reporter: two keys.
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two clues. one was a brand new copy of the front door key. the other was a key to the community pedestrian gate, not a copy. >> those are huge because it eliminates everybody in the world from being a suspect down to only those people that have access to those two keys. >> reporter: the circle of suspects was getting smaller. coming up -- police focus on one particular suspect who did have access to those keys and to something else. >> he had bought a 9 millimeter in the summer, a beretta 92f. >> you lied to them. >> i did. >> and later, bill's daughters uncover a clue. >> they look like your father's signature? >> no. >> when "deadly trust" continues.
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talk to your doctor, and call 844-214-2424. welcome back. police are whittled down their list of potential suspects,
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believing the killer knew the millionaire so well, he had his house keys. but a new person entered the picture and detectives found his memory suspiciously hazy on one particular topic. here again is keith morrison. >> reporter: two keys that demanded attention. one of them was stuck in the front door the night bill mclaughlin was murdered. the other was dropped on a mat outside. the person who killed bill had obtained those keys somehow, which meant whoever it was, was in his inner circle or had access to it. now police began looking very closely for relationships, like maybe secret ones. >> what is your involvement or relationship? >> nanette is a pretty good friend of mine. >> reporter: that's how they found eric naposki, who was living in a studio apartment in one of those southern california "melrose place" sort of
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complexes, just not quite as nice. naposki had played football, but his promising career as a linebacker had fizzled, too many injuries, hours on the bench. by the early '90s he was trying to figure out what to do next. >> i was in seattle with the seahawks when i retired, when i left. and i drove down the coast and it was a great place to land. >> kind of nirvana for a guy like you. >> it was. >> big, good-looking ex-football player like him? it was easy to get work. and women, in southern california. like nanette. he met her while working at this gym. what did you think when you saw her? >> i thought she was a snob when i first met her. a little stuck up. she had the sunglasses on, you know, the expensive watch. she was a little snobby. >> reporter: well, at least she was at first. but -- so what made you friends? >> proximity. she was a fun girl. we worked out together. i'd say we probably worked out together more than we did anything else together.
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>> reporter: he was impressed by her intelligence, by what she told him about herself. that she had a business degree, for example. >> she graduated early from high school and she graduated early from college. >> reporter: by february 1994, ten months before bill mclaughlin was killed, nanette's affair with eric was in full bloom, which, given that eric was not exactly flush, turned out to be just fine, because -- >> she had no lust for money, as she talked about things and as she drove her new cars and as she footed the bill for everything we did together. >> reporter: so what did eric know about bill and bill's relationship with nanette? the cops asked. >> i never met bill. >> you know who he is? >> i just knew of him. i knew of him and his, you know, partnership with nanette as far as business goes and stuff like that. >> reporter: eric told us nanette said she invented things, medical equipment, blood
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separators. sound familiar? and bill, she told eric, guided her through the process. >> that was her mentor. that was her business partner. and she could make her own schedule. she could work out all morning, grab lunch, do whatever she has to do, pick up the kids and take them to practice, be the team mom. >> reporter: pretty nice job. eric and nanette spent time at what she said was her house, right on the beach. what did you think? >> it was beautiful. beautiful house. right on the beach, right in newport. upstairs/downstairs, fully furnished. she had a picture of herself up in the upstairs bedroom, blown up. >> kind of a glamour shot. >> yeah. >> reporter: it never occurred to him, he said, that nanette and bill had anything more than a business relationship. >> it was a business relationship. if you looked at nanette and took into account her age and looked at bill and took into account his age, why would you
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think -- >> orange county, california? hello? >> i guess i'm a rookie when it comes to orange county. >> reporter: when it comes to murder and relationships, sometimes two's company, three's a motive. if eric found out bill was much more than just nanette's mentor, was it a motive for murder? so in their interview, investigators got right to the point. what was he doing that night? >> i was with nanette at the soccer game. she dropped me off and took off. and i got dressed and went to work later on, probably around 9:30. >> reporter: curious thing about eric's job. he was a bouncer at a nightclub about a football field and a half away from the mclaughlin house. not that far for a linebacker. so the cops asked a few more questions. >> did you do any armed work? >> no, i don't do any armed work. >> reporter: no, but that didn't mean he didn't own any guns. just took him a while to tell the detective that. >> okay.
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you said you don't own any firearms at all? >> no. i -- i bought one. i haven't seen it in so long. i bought one in dallas that i gave my dad. >> we first asked him if he owns any weapons. he says he doesn't own any. and then he says, oh, that's right, i did buy one in texas, little .380, but i sent it to my dad in new york and then we talk a little bit longer, and, oh, i bought another .380. >> did you have to register or anything in dallas? >> i basically just signed -- signed registration. >> the light must have gone off in his head that we were going to find out by checking registration because a few minutes after that he said he bought a 9 millimeter earlier in the year in the summer, a beretta 92f. >> reporter: now, that was interesting. a 9 millimeter was what killed bill mclaughlin, and no one knew
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that at the time but the cops and the killer. there are lots of 9 millimeter guns around, but why did eric naposki seem so dodgy about his? >> where is your 9 millimeter? >> i have no idea. >> you have no idea. >> that's my statement. >> reporter: if he thought he was helping himself, he wasn't. why didn't you ask for a lawyer? >> i didn't think i need one. innocent people don't need lawyers, do we? >> but you said some things that didn't help you out, that's for sure. >> absolutely. >> you lied to them, for one thing. >> i did. >> reporter: of course, lying doesn't make you a killer. but jealousy? maybe. did naposki know he was in a love triangle? did he want bill out of the way? and, if so, did nanette quite literally hold the key? at the center of the case, the younger girlfriend with a shady past she was trying to
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hide. coming up -- >> in the big bold print it was basically, looking for wealthy men, i'll take care of you if you take care of me. ing is and "deadly trust" continues. female anchor: it's 6:39, time for 'news update' male anchor: update on the cat who captured our hearts. female anchor: how often should you clean your fridge? stay tuned to find out. male anchor: beats the odds at the box office to become a rare non-franchise hit. you can give help and hope to those in need.
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i'm am mayman mohadin. in paris, for the first time since the french revolution, notre dame was unable to host midnight mass. that didn't stop its clergy and congregation. they held services next to the louvre, keeping the holiday spirit alive. now back to "dateline." welcome back to "dateline extra," i'm craig melvin. who shot millionaire inventor
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bill mclaughlin? investigators were talking to his girlfriend nannette who was cheating on him with another man. and when they interviewed him, he was deceptive about whether he owned a gun. meanwhile bill's daughters were trying to get their father's affairs in order. but they were about to find that things weren't adding up. the question was who else had access to bill's accounts. here again is keith morrison. >> reporter: in the afternoon on the day he was murdered, bill mclaughlin drove from a house he kept in las vegas to mccarran airport. he climbed into the little airplane he owned and flew it up above all his trouble. this is where he was free and happy, pure joy up here. just around sunset he landed at john wayne airport in orange county, called nanette to tell her he was back, and drove home to newport to the place he was about to die. but, for all their efforts, investigators could find not one bit of evidence in those final movements of his. nothing that would link him to
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the man who was fast becoming their prime suspect, eric naposki. back at the house, bill's daughters took it upon themselves to sort through all their dad's financials. maybe there would be a clue there. you had to figure all that out yourself. >> uh-huh. >> very complicated. >> it was very complicated, and we did not trust many people at that point. >> reporter: understandably. so bill's daughters pored through it all, the little stuff and the big stuff. there had been a failed real estate deal in the desert, two houses to deal with in nevada. soon money would be coming in, but, when he died, millionaire bill mclaughlin was low on funds. and things were missing, bills and bank statements, check registers. that kind of thing. the sisters turned to nanette for help because she was the person who handled bill's day-to-day money matters. in fact, she was the trustee of the trust that held most of bill's money. but everybody grieves in his or
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her own way, and nanette was very hard to reach. she just disappeared. >> yes. we'd contact her over something missing and sometimes she would return our calls and sometimes she wouldn't. >> reporter: she wasn't far away, mind you, just at the house on the beach. in his will, bill left nanette quite a consolation prize -- $1 million in life insurance, $150,000 in cash, and the use of the beach house for a year. but it was hardly enough, frankly, to fund the lifestyle to which she had become accustomed. didn't he pay for everything for her, gave her a couple of cars, even plastic surgery? >> well, he treated her very well. he provided a very plush lifestyle for she and her children. >> reporter: which made bill's daughters move nanette down the list of suspects. >> in front of her, i said, well, of course nanette would not have done it because there was no financial gain for her in this. >> reporter: after all, had bill
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survived, nanette and her two children might have lived very well indeed. and then bill's daughters noticed something odd about his books. >> i noticed in one of his business accounts a $250,000 check that was written. >> that's a lot of money. >> a heck of a lot of money. >> reporter: the check dated december 14th, one day before bill was murdered, was made out to nanette johnston trust. you saw the signature? >> yes. >> did it look like your father's signature? >> no. and i showed it to the police. >> reporter: detective voth didn't like the looks of it either. >> hello? >> oh, hi, nanette. this is jenny. >> reporter: the detectives told the daughters to give nanette a call and record it. >> well, first of all, a lot of checks -- there are a lot of times i sign for him on many things. >> uh-huh? >> with his permission. >> he gave you permission to sign his name? >> oh, yeah. i've signed his name on many things. >> huh.
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he never let us do that. >> reporter: although nanette told jenny she was sure bill had signed that particular check. but then the detectives got involved, and they found more money missing from bill's accounts. nearly $500,000 and also discovered nanette wasn't exactly the person she had portrayed herself to be. detective voth learned up she grew up in phoenix. you can barely recognize her from her high school yearbook picture, she had so transformed herself. and despite what she told eric, she never studied business, never even got a college degree. she never invented anything but her own back-story. married at 18, two kids by 22, divorced at 23, and determined to leave dusty arizona behind for the coast of california, in particular, newport beach. so this is the place she wanted to move into and said -- >> right. >> let's move in together. i love you. >> wasn't evan finished being built. >> reporter: turns out, before
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bill, before eric naposki, there was tom. he met nanette at a nightclub and six weeks later he found himself moving them both into a townhouse in the heart of newport beach. she had actually found the place before she met him. what was attractive to you about her? >> smart. intelligence. definitely very determined. forging ahead on her own two feet and wanting to make things happen. >> reporter: oh, and she did. she just happened to like shortcuts, which tom discovered when he found something nanette had been hiding. an ad. >> in the big bold print it was basically, looking for wealthy men, i'll take care of you if you take care of me. >> did you confront her after you found this stuff? >> absolutely. >> reporter: nanette denied it was her. but soon enough she had moved out and up and in with bill mclaughlin. it was clear to detective voth
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that nanette johnston was greedy and would stop at nothing for money. it was clear to him that she had been cheating on bill. it was also clear to him she had been cheating on bill with eric. he even knew that her key to the community pedestrian gate was missing. and, remember, there was one found, could have been it, on the mat at the murder scene. but did all of that make her a killer? she and her lover, eric? do you remember what you thought at the time? >> i thought the police would be able to have a closed case. >> wishful thinking, as it turned out. >> probably naive. >> reporter: in fact, it looked like someone or two someones might just get away with murder. coming up -- this story from a new witness. >> she said i don't even want to know if you had anything to do with this. she said, maybe you did, maybe you didn't. you didn't
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welcome back. investigators discovered that nannette johnston had a long history of manipulating men for financial gain. but was she also a cold-blooded killer? they believed she enlisted the help of eric naposki, the man she was having an affair with, to murder her boyfriend bill mclaughlin. nannette and eric moved on with their lives but a determined d.a. jumped on the case and what he would find unraveled the mif mystery. here again is keith morrison. >> reporter: detective voth thought he had a case. there were the keys, the lies, the other lover, the stolen money. circumstantial, yes. but he thought both eric naposki and nanette johnston committed murder together.
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>> i thought we had it solved as far as who the responsible parties were. it's just the d.a.'s office didn't feel comfortable with filing the case. >> reporter: two times newport beach police brought the case to the d.a.'s office. two times the d.a.'s office said the detective had not made his case. nanette was arrested in the spring of 1995 but not for murder. they got her for fraud and forgery. she pleaded guilty, spent a year in jail, and, though eric waited for her, by the time she got out, she was ready to move on. she married a real estate mogul, much richer than bill mclaughlin ever was. they had a baby girl. and, once again, nanette was driving a fancy car and living where rich people live, and spending lots and lots of money on clothes and lunches and hairdos. and then, well, she met someone else, another bill, so she divorced the real estate mogul
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and agreed to receive $17,000 a month in child support. had that been her idea all along? the new bill did not have millions. when he married nannette, he signed a prenup letting her keep for herself all the money she got from number two. or was that number three? anyway, the real estate mogul. eric napolski went back east, got married, got divorced. and bill mclaughlin's kids tried to live the way he would have wanted them to. >> you need to understand where my dad came from. a very low income family, as we would call it today. so he always appreciated what he
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had and worked very hard for it. >> reporter: bill's children worked hard too, supported library in the third world, orphanages in africa, gave wheelchairs to the poor. rewarding work. but as time passed, it seemed to them like it was the evil stepmother who got to live happily ever after, certainly not them. five years after the murder in 1999, the sisters lost their brother kevin in a drowning accident. he never had recovered from the trauma of finding their murdered father. so both men in the family were gone. >> we thought, those two will be arrested next week for killing my dad. when it didn't happen month after month and then year after year, we had to actually just release the pain and the anger we felt from it. >> and conscious of the fact that you had to work on that? >> very conscious of the fact.
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>> reporter: and that might have been the end of our story but for him. this is matt murphy, surfer and senior deputy district attorney. with just possibly an excess of confidence in his ability to prosecute the murder of bill mclaughlin all those years ago. what you had was an old, old case, pretty circumstantial stuff, a lot of evidence had been lost. degrades over time. were you a little nervous about that? >> you're always nervous when you try an old case. >> reporter: but not a forgotten one. cold case investigators kept digging. they found a real estate agent who showed nanette and eric expensive houses after the pair said they were about to come into some money. they had found a businessman who heard from nanette before the murder that she was about to have lots of money to invest. and they found a neighbor of eric's from that "melrose place"
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type building, a woman who had been too afraid to come forward at the time of the murder named suzanne cogar. >> suzanne cogar was very, very important because she gave the best comprehensive understanding of the way nanette manipulated naposki into committing the murder. >> reporter: suzanne told them how she and eric would chat by the pool, how one day in the fall of 1994 eric was angry that his girlfriend's boss, meaning bill mclaughlin, had tried to rape her. >> totally untrue. they're engaged to be married. she had been living at the house as boyfriend/girlfriend for over three years. but naposki didn't know about it. >> and he's in a rage about it. >> he's in a rage about it. >> reporter: after the murder, said suzanne, eric sought her out, said if the police came around, tell them i'm a nice guy. >> she said, oh, my god, eric, i don't want to know if you had anything to do with this. he smiled and said, maybe i did, maybe i didn't.
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if you're accused of a murder you didn't commit, how are those words ever going to come out of your mouth? >> reporter: incriminating but hardly one of those tangible facts that gets someone sent away for life. >> this is one where every little piece of evidence had to be considered in light of all the other pieces of evidence. >> reporter: in fact, just for the sake of challenge, matt murphy was after. so on may 20, 2009, more than 14 years after bill mclaughlin was shot dead in his kitchen, nanette was plucked from her well-shod life and charged with murder. nanette proclaimed her innocence and her orange county friends stood by her. >> i'm just going to tell you that she's my friend. she's a good person. she's been generous and kind and a wonderful mother and a wonderful neighbor. >> reporter: across the country in connecticut, police picked up eric naposki and accused him of murder, too.
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eric was also defiant. >> it wasn't eric naposki who shot bill mclaughlin. this is a fact. and matt murphy's wrong. i'm tell you right now on my children, he's just straight wrong. >> reporter: did eric kill bill mclaughlin? did he conspire with nanette? or was matt murphy in over his head? to a jury, soon. coming up -- first, they had to face trial where nanette's lawyer had an unusual defense. >> in court, you called your client -- >> i did. >> it doesn't make you a murderer. >> when "deadly trust" continues. ust" continues. when you shop with wayfair,
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welcome back, lynette johnson and eric devausi caught
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up to them. in separate trials, eric and ynette turned from each other. in the end, the jury would have the final say. the conclusion of our story, here is keith morris. >> good afternoon. >> 17 years after bill mclaughlin's life was brought to a violent end, eric went on trial at the courthouse. >> i want to take you folks to the over view of the evidence. >> prosecutors murphy told the jury eric volunteered to be johns johnson's. >> on august 2nd, he purchased an expensive 9 millimeter model
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92. a few months later, it was yn t ynette's turn. she thought she controls the money and her stealing escalated as the murder got closer. >> she steals $48,042 in the month of october alone. in the month of october alone, she beaten the previous nine months combined. >> the prosecutor argued, she ask eric to kill bill before he caught on. >> eric's attorney told the jury two one, eric could not have done it. 18 minutes he was on the pay phone at this denny's. he could not make it to new port beach in time to commit the
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murder. ynette did it. >> the evidence shows that yn t ynette johnson is the person that's most likely to commit this murder. >> in ynette's trial, her attorney says she was innocent and it was eric who committed the murder. >> the evidence is going to show that he murdered mr. mclaughlin out of jealousy and grid. mutual finger pointing. michael hill had to agree, his client was not a saint. >> hate as much as you want for being a thief or liar or a cheat, whatever you want to call her. >> it seems to me in court you called your client [ bleep ]. >> i sure did. >> just because you treated people poorly, does not make you a murderer.
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>> she's actually getting a million dollars. >> a million dollars is a massive amount of money. >> $2 million for her -- he worth $55 million before he died. her long-term plan is not to be with a deadbeat loser. >> which was in a way the question we put to the prosecutor. she was getting a lot of money from him. she probably is stealing along the way and she can cheat it at the same time. why would she kill him? >> if he lives, he ought to find out she's cheating or stealing and she wants best case scenario for her on the streets with nothing and worse case scenario is she goes to jail. >> in the end, murphy got his verdict. >> guilty of the crime of felony. after conviction, the honest thing happens. eric called up murphy from jail
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and said he was finally ready to tell the truth. he told us, too. >> the first thing i want to clear up with matt that i didn't do the crime. i also wanted to share some other information with him that had not shared with anybody in 17 years. >> eric had a new story. if ynette want bill mclaughlin dead then mclaughlin would have been dead whether to get me doing it or pay someone to do it. >> they used the baretta which eric said it was not him after all. what did matt murphy think of eric's new story? >> it does not make any sense. >> the first story got nothing to do with it.
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he says ynette says i am totally innocent. i had nothing to do with that and i didn't know anything. we interviewed him afterwards and it changes again something radically different again. >> michael hill did not buy it either. >> have you heard of hiring the hit man and i will take the job. >> so eric sits in jail and contemplates that long ago love affair with ynette. ynette johnson is the worst type of person. she can lie to you and make love to you and kill you all the same week and not even cry at funerals and she was my girlfriend. that's what i have to -- that's the price i am paying. >> as for bill's family, they're grateful believing eric and
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ynette is finally where they belong. >> how do you make sense of all this stuff? >> there is no sense of it. they're sick and demented and selfish people. when we started learn tg howing ynette's mind work, it was hard to comprehend and a dark place to unravel. >> so she does what her father thought. she lives for others as well as herself and she flies like he did and she looks at the light. when it comes down to it, our dad thought us, make this world a better place and given to others who are less fortunate so we do that. my sister and i both do that today. that's part of our mission in life. we go about with my dad and our dad as an angel on one shoulder and our brother as an angel on another shoulder.
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>> that's all for this edition of "dateline," i am craig melvin. thank you for watching. with one of those moments, she's going to go back in two-minutes. two-minutes ago he was playing and he was alive. >> inside a sleeping house. >> i heard angie spring oh my god, oh my god. i could see blood running down his neck.